OVER 17,000 cigarettes and 4.5kg of hand rolling tobacco has been seized by Essex Trading Standards working with Essex Police.
After a 12-week crackdown by Essex Police to take on criminal behaviour within the town centre, the raid to seek out illegal cigarettes was successful. The intelligence led operation targeted well-known sellers of the illicit tobacco. Found within walls and vehicles the tobacco was seized by the Trading Standards with help from Scampi and Yoyo of BWY Canine.
Cllr Susan Barker, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member with a responsibility for Trading Standards, said, ‘Today, Essex Trading Standards are sending out a clear message that repeated criminal behaviour of this kind will not be tolerated. We will continue to work hard with our partners to clamp down on the sale of illegal tobacco.”
Both of the raided businesses have been handed notices and all seized tobacco will be destroyed.
The illegal tobacco trade is known to encourage children to smoke, also taking advantage of penniless families, all to fund organised crime.
Inspector Tony Walker, Essex Police, said, ‘Today’s operation saw thousands of counterfeit cigarettes removed from shops looking to make a financial gain by operating illegally while taking trade away from other businesses.’
Police and Trading Standards are still on the lookout for any illegal tobacco products and ask for anyone with information to report it to [email protected] or call 0345 404 0506.